Judging Buildings – Harman Center for the Arts


It’s been a while since we’ve judged a building. Walking downtown I was stopped in my tracks. It is located at the corner of 6th and F Streets, NW. It opened Oct. 1st, 2007. There is a conversation with the architect, Jack Diamond, here. You can see some photos inside here. Thumbs up or down? Anyone see a play there?

15 Comment

  • this place is absolutely awesome. The interior is amazing too.

  • It might be fine from outside, but the interior is heinous. Acoustics are so bad in the “affordable” ($70) seats, and the seats uncomfortable, we didn’t renew our annual Shake. Thea. play package and have not been to one since. It is tragic, as we are missing some wonderful ones. We truly did walk out of the second one we saw there because we could only hear one actor in both plays (same actor–the big, round guy). And we are young and not deaf. What an awful waste. I loved the old one, even with its flaws.

  • note, this is from an actual use-ability standpoint. It LOOKS great. But if you cannot use a theater, what the hell is the point?

  • I looked at the photo and, at first, thought the sign read “Shakespeare Tire Company”.

    “”Et tu, steel-belted radial?”

  • My wife and I went to see “Taming of the Shrew” when Jim Graham gave out free tickets for 400 people. We had a GREAT time, and even though I’m a little deaf I could hear most everything up in the upper mezza.

    Overal it was a great night!

  • I’ve had season tickets for eons and had no problems my first year in the mezzanine. Upgraded this year to the expensive seats (Row D in Harmon) and love them!

  • Had a couple good evenings out here (Edward II – King Died-By-Red-Hot-Poker) and found the size of the new theater space and the lobby compared favorably to the old space (Cyrano de Bergerac.) The old theater’s lobby was horribly cramped. The new glass walled area is much better and would be a great place to reserve for a reception or fundraiser. Hope the new Arena Stage fares as well after construction is complete!

  • A friend of mine who is hearing impaired and does not see well prefers the old Landsburg Theatre up the street. She says its much more intimate whereas this one, if you are handicapped, is hell trying to climb over people to get to your seat. She said people in the balcony have complained that they can’t hear. Also, in the old theatre the actors never had to be miked but in this one some of them do. I haven’t been to this theatre yet and my friend is a purist so anything deviating from the English “Globe Theatre” atmosphere bothers her.

  • I attended a Washington Ballet performance there and was very pleased with this theater. You have to strategize the intermission for the wine breaks….this staff does not have the serving down to perfection the way the Kennedy Center servers do. It is then nice to stand right at the glass in the upper lobby for the edge-of-a-building roof effect.

  • Well the building is okay. However since the building was built jointly for the Shakespeare Theatre and the Bricklayers Labor Union, I would have expected to see more masonry involved with this structure.

    A brick front would have been great and had more longevity. This building reminds me of a building that has been finished in NOMA off of 1st Street NE.

  • I think the building is very beautiful…it’s quite a site when you turn the corner onto F St.

  • nice exterior, but i agree with others that there are some serious design flaws inside with regard to the acoustics. seems like there are dead zones in certain parts of the balcony where the sound just doesn’t travel well

  • It looks nice inside and out. Definitely modern which can be nice.

    Being a near 10-year season ticket holder the usability inside where the seating is a problem. Normally I have seats on row S and the sound is fine and I had to change my seat to Phedra and was in the balcony and I heard fine. I have been told that there have been reported dead sound spaces around the theater which accounts for the acoustic problems mentioned above.

    My huge gripe is the anemic space between the rows. I am just over 5 feet 4 and have issues, imagine those people near or above 6 feet.

  • I love the new theater, and didn’t have trouble hearing the actors at all, though my Husband would swear I am deaf.

    Regarding serving during intermission, you can pre-order your drink before the performance starts, then it is ready to be picked up when you reach the bar.

    Also, the bathroom situation has improved greatly! In the old theater it was either go to the bathroom or get a drink, there was never time for both. This one makes for a much more relaxing and fun evening.

  • I like the Bank of America ATM on the sidewalk. Saves me a trip all the way up to 10th and Penn.

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